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Saturday, May 25, 2013


   Pisa, Italy, has an incredible thrill ride.   For $73 you climb inside a large metal tube that shoots up into the stratosphere (this is what we saw out our window!).  It's like the Richard Branson Space Ride for cheapos.
   We  returned to the Earth in a completely different city, a place called "Paris".  It's where Jim Morrison died.

   Francesca and I began to explore.  A few hours later we ran into
two young men backpacking down Le Boulevard Magenta.  I quickly recognized them as my sons, Ian and Dylan. 

    They told us they had spent the previous two weeks (last July) skateboarding through Belgium, Holland, and Germany.

They're  good sports.  I asked Ian to meditate and Dylan to look askance so I could take this seemingly candid photograph.

   We rented an apartment by the historic St. Martin Canal; it winds down from the north to reach the Seine. 
Ever summer night there  is a party along its banks, thousands of young people talking, singing, drinking, and urinating. 

To make the last one easier (for guys) they set out these triangular pissoirs.  Ian was kind enough to model.
    At one night's canal party I got to sing "Lady in Red" with a young man from Birmingham.  Empty beer bottles served as microphones.

     Miami is just getting rent-a-bikes but the City of Light has had them for years.   They're free for the first 30 minutes and just two bucks per hour after that.  You ride somewhere, check it in, then grab another one when you're ready to head home.  Plan it right and you can bike for free.
    We grabbed four and headed south to see the sights.   When I asked, "Y'guys wanna to visit Jim Morrison's grave? There's a party there every day". 
 They replied,  "He's been dead for 40 years.   Anyone who remembers him is probably too old to party".  I told them I wasn't and they were kind enough to indulge me.  We headed three miles south to Cemetierie Pere Lachaise.

The lead singer of The Doors has gotten a lot of attention since he OD'd in his bathtub.   For years young folks gathered at his plot to laugh, sing, and leave half-empty bottles of Jack Danial's. On my Dead Rock Star Tour in the early      80's,  Jim's grave was at the top,  just ahead of Duane Allman's in Macon, Georgia.                                 (Above,  Jim's grave in '83)

  The party is smaller now.  On a Wednesday afternoon there were less than a dozen gathered
at his grave site.  His concrete bust was stolen long ago.

This young man, who could pass for Ian's anorexic twin,  asked for people to "light his fire" in song.
Thankfully, no one tried.
    The crowds were much bigger at the next stop, a gigantic old building filled with art.  Three hundred people crammed into one spot to see either a distant painting or the Japanese lady standing in front of it.

The crowd was a pickpocket's dream and there are thousands of them in Paris.  I lost my wallet on a previous trip.
   Just last month, the Louvre was shut down for a day when its security guards went on strike.  Seems they were tired of having their pockets picked.

In another room Dylan had Napoleon and his army all to himself. 

I had similar luck when they asked us to leave at closing time.  
There were no lines outside to see "Red Dog".

 The boys just had to see the Tim Burton  exhibit so we headed for Le Musee Cinimatheque.  The two-hour line had art of its own.  This entire cast of "The Munsters" was smiling from this guy's arm.  

The next day, while crossing the River Seine, I saw a dog with an incredibly long nose.  

   Her name was "Hunter" and the owner let me hold her. It was nice to be smelling dog again.


  It was hot, even by Miami standards.  The river, being too nasty to swim in, had a huge  barge tethered a hundred yards south.   Inside was this pool.  
 We attempted to take a dip at the Josephine Baker Aquatic Center but we told we lacked the necessary bathing caps.

      We made for the shade and wandered.  Eventually we came upon the ghosts of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Arthur Rimbaud.  More on that later.

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